My Sidekick

This is my baby and she has stuck like glue to me since the day she was born.

When she was just two weeks old, I had an MRI, and because of the chemical they place in your bloodstream, I was forced to refrain from nursing for 72 hours. I don’t know if that experience left her emotionally scarred, or if she just hated a bottle, but until she was weened at a year old I could never leave her anywhere for more than a few hours. She would rather starve than drink from a bottle.

After she was weened I joined a gym near me, leaving her with their childcare, hoping that one day she wouldn’t scream murderously high pitches that could be heard for miles away. I thought that leaving her in childcare for roughly one-and-a-half hours a few times a week might help her become a little more independant, but I was far from wrong. Eventually my son began exhibiting her symptoms in childcare and I was forced to cancel my membership.

I love my baby girl. I really do. But I’m glad that at two-and-a-half, she is now finally able to stay with a babysitter or with my parents from time to time.

Oddly enough, those young days with her almost seem easier than the days I would face ahead. At two years old, something clicked with her and she started talking. She already speaks several words at a time, sometimes small complete sentences. The only problem is that I can’t hear them.

I’ve never had a huge problem understanding my son. You can stand about ten feet away from him and still understand him (even me) because he speaks loud and clear, emphasis on loud. I don’t think he learned to speak loud because of my deafness, my boy just doesn’t understand how to speak softly. Not even while my baby girl is sleeping. But more than being loud is that he speaks very clear, even if he does switch his R’s for W’s.

My daughter is a completely different story. Her voice has a higher pitch, and because she pouts her lips a little when she says things, it’s very difficult for me to read her lips, and nearly impossible for me to hear her. When she first started saying words, she would tell me something that she wanted and when I couldn’t quite catch it, she would throw herself on the floor and kick and scream at me. I would discipline her, trying to get her to change those oh-so-dramatic fits that she would throw (and still does sometimes), but at some point in the last month I began to really understand her.

I thought for so long that she just needed us to fix her attitude, which is so extreme sometimes, but what I finally understood was that she just wanted me to understand her. It’s devastatingly sad for me to think about the amount of times I must have stuck her in a corner for acting so badly, but while sometimes her attitude was unwarranted, a lot of times she just wanted me to understand something she was saying. The great thing is that it might take me a period of time, but eventually I do learn. It’s just crazy that I had to learn it from my two year old.

My first adjustment to her was to do what my son just naturally did. My son is incredibly smart, but but he was a late talker (although he does now talk our ears off). He loved when I taught him easy sign language signs for different words, but most of the time he would grab my finger and pull me to whatever he wanted to eat or show me. So I started teaching my daughter to lead me to what she wanted. I also tried teaching her some of the same signs that my son knows. But sometimes the kicking and screaming still pursued. She wanted to speak to me like she does to everyone else.

When my husband is home, it’s easy to just ask him what it is that she’s saying, but being a full-time mom having a husband that is gone to work half the day, means making sure that I can find ways to understand her when my husband isn’t around. Adjustment number two has begun recently.

A couple weeks ago my girl was trying to tell me something, and I was getting it all wrong as usual. She always starts by telling me something, I don’t get it, then she jumps and whines the words the next two or three times. After that, the flopping on the floor and kicking ensues. But before she got to the flopping on the floor part, my son runs up to me, pats me on the arm, and tells me what my girl is saying.

Now a normal, sane, logically thinking person might immediately catch on to something here, but that’s not me. Over the course of the next few days, my son would periodically tell me what my daughter is saying. Because my mind is constantly working so hard to understand what the kids are saying, it took me a few days before that lightbulb turned on inside my head. My son was understanding my daughter.

Let me just end here by saying that my relationship with my daughter has gone to a new level over the past few weeks. Anytime that she tells me something that I can’t quite understand, she’s got it down pat that all we need is my son around to “interpret” for her. And while I cry a tear here and there for that direct interaction that I miss having with her, I’m incredibly thankful for her being a happier girl now that I can find a way to understand what she’s saying.

Baby girl, I love ya. Give me another 6 months for my Cochlear Implant surgery and you and I will be best buddies.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I was reading comments on the PW site and wanted to say sorry you didn’t win the mixer either! My heart also fluttered when I saw Angela had won! Awesome name wrong Angela!


  2. I know, great name, right? With as popular as our names are, I bet there were a few other Angelas that were also disappointed. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Posted by Ken on June 1, 2010 at 4:48 am

    That’s a sweet story. I hope the implant works out alright! 😀


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